Happy tenth anniversary to me. I put up this site in April 1996 as a dinky AOL “Home page,” and promptly got an award. Those were the days: the ratio of “cool site” awards to actual sites was about 1:1. As long as you didn’t have a tiled background image that looked like a tripping hippie threw up on a Magic Eye picture, and you limited your animated GIFs to six, you were in. I can still see the first site, including the painstaking made-by-hand drop shadows. (I’d copy the image, blur the original, then paste the copy, all the while using my foot-pedal to power the computer) Somewhere in the basement are copies of the CDs on which I engraved the original versions; I’ll find them later. All part of Tenth Anniversary Year Week! Or something like that.

In any case, I redid the main page. As usual, I did 15 designs before I gave up and went with the last one. I suppose it’s nothing I couldn’t have done years ago, which is slightly depressing; I’d like to think I’ve grown somehow. But it has the virtue of simplicity and consistency; this site has a look, inasmuch as I’m limited by my narrow abilities. Some day. Next time. Anyway, here’s the new look. Some links may not yet work.

There are those who do not like Daylight Savings Time – it’s false time, a patent lie; why not say the sun sets at midnight?  You can believe these things if you like, but do not bring them up in my presence. By my lights, setting the clocks back is the unnatural part. As a night owl, I treasure the longer evenings, and few things put a lilt in this grey hard lump of anthracite I call a heart than stepping outside at eight and seeing the world has not been cast back in the black pit. I love Daylight Savings Time. For that matter I’m used to its conclusion; it’s actually become part of the rhythm of the year for me. When the clocks go back the day seems to contract; when they leap ahead – in a single bound, as though they’ve been straining at the leash – the day expands and exhales. It’s a wonderful thing. People who oppose it are ugly and stupid and un-American and wrong and evil and anti-life.

I’m kidding about that last part; just wanted to do my part for the ol’ blogosphere, as I fear I haven’t been polarizing enough lately. Mr. Get-Along, they call me. Well, I will not be bullied in the large issues of the day. I realize Daylight Savings Time is an artificial construct. (Like the 60-minute hour, for example.) And I – don’t  - care.  If nothing else, I like resetting all the clocks. The average American has more clocks than a 15th century Pope could dream of owning. And next year it starts the second week of March! Suicides in the Nothern tier states will drop, I tell you.

Warm on Saturday; I pulled all the Christmas lights off the bushes, straightened the low-voltage garden lights and checked the bulbs. Not quite ready to put the gazebo up, but on the other hand: I saw tulip  shoots. Caught me by surprise, but their schedule isn’t your schedule. Usually the first shoots of tender green mean one thing: a gigantic, earth-smothering snow storm is imminent. That’ll learn ‘em! Stickin’ up their heads all saucy and impudent-like.

But it got me thinking about the improvements I need to make this spring and summer. The Water Feature will be completed this month if it doesn’t snow, the contractor said. (I make bitter, mocking faces in his general direction.) I want to landscape the auxiliary slope, but that’s a dream.  I need to stain the fence, all nineteen miles, and rebuild the front porch railing. The ground cover by the front door needs to be ripped up and redone – I planted some stuff guaranteed to spread like nuclear-infused  kudzu, but it developed agoraphobia;  never moved. Nothing. Weeds took over. Elswhere, three paving stones have sunk, due to the ants; they transfer the sand to the top of the stones, and over the course of five years the stones have sunk. I’ve been tolerant of the little fellows thus far, but this year it’s Poison City.

The ground over the quicklime pit where I hid the bodies has a tell-tale slump. One of the bushes died. It never ends, but I much prefer the constant putzing to renting a flat. Some of my most potent and indelible memories of this place are the simplest – painting the tunnel entrance, weeding the north side while listening to old radio shows (the weeds were tall and thick but had shallow roots; they could be uprooted without complaint, and they almost seemed grateful.) This will be the second year for the gazebo, and probably the last; it’s made of special Quik-Rot lumber. But it will be good to sit outside and read by the lamp again. It will be good to be outside.

But first I have to get through this week.  Spring break; no school. Me and Gnat all day. I look forward to it, really. We’re going to do all the things we used to do – hit the Play Place, go to the far-flung burbs for a Krispy Kreme. Most important, we will Hang Out. No rush to make the bus. No clock in the AM and no rules. (Except piano and brushing teeth and vegetables with lunch and picking up toys and making beds. Other than that, joker’s wild.) She’s working on a book, a magnum opus called The Best Picnic Ever. I’ve told her I’ll scan it and have it bound at Kinkos’ when she’s done.

Kingos? Where we got the gum?

Yes. Just like dogs who  behold the world  in terms of urine markings, small kids see the world in terms of sweets. You could take them to the Oval Office  and have the President clean the soles of their shoes with his tongue, and if he gave them a roll of Neccos at the end they’d remember the entire visit with vague disappointment. Because no one really likes Neccos. They’re hard and the relationship between hue and flavor is indistinct at best. And the chocolate ones? Let us not speak of those again.

I have nothing else to report for the weekend – went to the office Saturday, walked around downtown; survived. But that’s another story for Wednesday’s Screedblog. Watched some movies, one of which is the subject of the lengthy rant tomorrow. I have to save it, because tomorrow is another train-wreck day. Tonight is not much better – I have three columns due in the AM, and one is double-length. So if you’ll excuse me? Thanks. New Matchbook & Quirk, or course. See you tomorrow.



c. j lileks. email may be sent to first name at last name dot com.